DHSC previously hinted at regulator involvement for unvaccinated NHS workers.
It comes only days after clinical leaders at the Department of Health and Social Care wrote to unvaccinated NHS workers hinting at regulator involvement.
Responding to the letter, the nursing regulator has released a statement explaining that while they “strongly encourage” registrants to be vaccinated, they “do not consider that solely turning down Covid-19 vaccinations is a basis for a Fitness to Practise referral”.
Published today, the letter reads; “Since the Covid-19 vaccine rollout started, the NMC has strongly encouraged anyone eligible – including all professionals on our register – to be fully vaccinated as quickly as possible. There is a global scientific consensus, supported by our own medicines regulator in the UK, on the importance and value of full vaccination against Covid-19 and the benefits for people receiving care, vaccinated individuals themselves, their families, communities and the wider health and social care system.
“Our Code and our standards have always made clear that professionals have a responsibility to maintain their own level of health, taking all reasonable personal precautions to avoid potential health risks to colleagues and people receiving care. They also need to practise in line with the best available evidence, take appropriate steps to reduce risks and prioritise the safety of people in their care. They must work cooperatively, respecting others’ views and opinions and behaving in a professional way at all times.
“That’s why we continue to encourage nursing and midwifery professionals to be vaccinated against Covid-19. We’re glad that the vast majority of nurses, midwives and nursing associates already are.
“Any professional with concerns about vaccination should seek advice and support, for example from their GP, occupational health team, employer or trade union. Employers should work collaboratively with professionals who are seeking more information or support around vaccination. We do not consider that solely turning down Covid-19 vaccinations is a basis for a Fitness to Practise referral.
“We continue to strongly encourage all professionals to take up the offer of vaccination. It is the best way to protect themselves, their families, colleagues and, of course, everyone receiving care.”
Code of Conduct.
The letter does allude to the expectation that nurses should adhere to their Code of Conduct in relation to vaccines despite their personal opinions.
It is estimated that only around 50,000 of the 1.4 million NHS workers remain unvaccinated.
Parliament will now consider repealing vaccination as a condition of deployment (VCOD) laws across health and social care settings.